Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here’s how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic


Translator: Milenka Okuka
Reviewer: Mile Živković So, it turns out exactly a year ago, right now, right this minute,
a year ago in Hong Kong, an extraordinary protest began. Protest begun by students, literally, high school
and college students, elementary school students, then their parents
felt a little embarrassed that they had let their kids work so hard
and then they showed up as well. And the protest was about a law. And the law was proposed by China. The law was to determine how the Governor of Hong Kong
would be selected. The law said, “The ultimate aim
is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative
nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” OK, so the idea was,
there’s a two step process. The first step was nomination, and then the second step
was an election. The nominating committee
would be comprised of about 1200 people which means out of seven million people that is .02 percent of Hong Kong. Alright, .02% as you can see
is a really tiny number. (Laughter) Really, really small. If you thought about it,
relative to all the people in Hong Kong, it would look something like this, this tiny little corner is .02 percent. So .02% get to pick the candidates, that the rest of Hong Kong
gets to vote among. And the protest was because the fear
was this filter would be a biased filter. The claim was that .02% would be dominated by a pro-Beijing business
and political elite. So 99.98% would be excluded
from this critical first step with the consequence, obviously,
of producing a democracy responsive to China only. OK, now, it turns out the Chinese
stole this idea from an American. Don’t worry, there was no patent,
no copyrights, there’s no IP violations going on here. But they stole the idea from an American. Maybe the greatest
political philosopher in America – a man named Boss Tweed. (Laughter) Boss Tweed had
a Tammany Hall political party. He used to say,
“I don’t care who does the electing, as long as I get to do the nominating.” (Laughter) So, this conception, this kind of – (Laughter) (Applause) conception of politics
has an obvious logic to it, right because, if you control the nomination, every candidate was going to worry
what you, the nominator, think. So, you practically control the candidate, whether or not you control
the ultimate election. We can call that genius theory – that genius theory for
destroying democracy – Tweedism. Any two stage process
where the Tweeds get to nominate and then the rest get to select
is Tweedism. And the consequence
of Tweedism, obviously, is producing a system responsive
to Tweeds only. Now, Tweedism was practised
not just in the North, not just in New York, it was practiced in the South too. Texas in 1923
practiced Tweedism by a law. In 1923 Texas passed statute that said, “In the Democratic primary
only whites could vote.” Only whites could vote. Blacks can vote in the General Elections,
if of course they could get registered, given all the barriers to registration. But only whites
could vote in a democratic Primary. And of course, back then,
hard to imagine, but back then the only party that mattered
was the Democratic Party in Texas. So, in this two stage process,
blacks were excluded from the first stage. 16% of Texas excluded from
this critical first stage, with the consequence obviously of producing a democracy
responsive to whites only. Now, those cases are obvious to us. Everyone looks at that and says,
there is something obviously wrong with those so called democracies
to set up their structure in that way. So why don’t we see it here? We take it for granted in the US,
that campaigns will be privately funded. But we need to recognize funding
is its own contest, funding is its own Primary. We have the voting system,
where people vote, but in the first stage to that
there is a Money Primary that determines which candidates
are allowed to run in those voting elections. Now, that Money Primary takes time. Members of Congress
and candidates for Congress spend anywhere between
30 and 70 percent of their time dialing for – this is an old telephone,
you might not recognize this – but dialing for dollars. Calling people all across the country
to get the money they need to run their campaigns,
or to get their party back into power. B. F. Skinner gave us this wonderful
image of the skinner box where any stupid animal could learn
which buttons it needed to push for its sustenance. This is the picture of the life
of the modern American Congress person As the modern American Congress person – (Applause) comes to learn which buttons
he or she needs to push to get the sustenance he or she needs
to make his or her campaign successful. This is their life, and it has an effect. Each of them, as they do this,
develop a “sixth sense”, a constant awareness of how what they do
might affect their ability to raise money. They become, in the words of “X Files”,
“shape shifters”, as they constantly adjust their views
in light of what they know will help them to raise money. Not on issues 1-10,
but on issues 11-1000. Leslie Byrne, a Democrat from Virginia,
describes that when she went to Congress she was told by a colleague,
“Always lean to the green.” And to clarify, she went on, “You know,
he was not an environmentalist.” (Laughter) So this obviously is a Primary too. It is the Money Primary. It’s not the White Primary,
it’s the Green Primary. It’s the first stage
in a multistage process to select the candidates
who will represent us. So, if this is the structure,
we should interrogate who are the funders. Or we can think about
who the biggest funders are. In the 2014, the top 100 gave
as much as the bottom 4.75 million funders to congressional campaigns. In this election cycle so far,
400 families have given half the money in the election contributions
and contributions to Super PAC, so far. Four hundred families! That is not American democracy.
That is Banana Republic democracy. (Laughter) And then we can think
not just about the biggest funders but think about the relevant funders. Of course the people giving
millions of dollars have the attention of the members of Congress. But how much do you need to give
to be relevant? How much do you need to give
to be big enough to matter to those Congress people
as they are dialing for dollars to raise money from you. Let’s take people who maxed out in 2014. And in 2014 – that means you gave
5,200 dollars to at least one candidate in the General Primary
and in the General Election. In 2014, it turns out,
57,874 Americans maxed out in that way. So we could say,
57,874 gave enough to matter to control, to be the dominant force
in this first stage of the election process. And, some of you out there,
the math genius out there might do the numbers. 54,874, hey wait a minute,
that’s .02% – (Laughter) – of America. .02% of America dominate this first stage
in the process of electing the candidates who will represent us. They pick the candidates,
because you can’t be credible unless you get their money. And we get to vote for those candidates. This tiny fraction of the 1%,
this Chinese fraction of the 1% dominate the first stage
with the consequence, obviously, of producing a democracy responsive
to these funders only. It’s Princeton study,
which, as a Harvard professor I’m not allowed to talk about much,
let’s get it off the stage quick. By Martin Gilens and Ben Page,
the largest empirical study of actual decisions by our government
in the history of political science, related the actual decisions
of our government over the past 40 years with the views of the economic elite,
the views of organized interest groups and the views of the average voter. And what they found was
there was a nice correlation between the views of the economic elite
and what our government actually did. So, as you go from 0% of the elite
supporting something to 100%, the probability of that proposal
being passed, goes up. Same thing
with organized special interest groups. As the number
of them support something increases, the probability
of that proposal being passed, goes up. Here is the graph for the average voter. It is a flat line. Flat line, literally and figuratively. What this is saying is,
as the percentage of average voter supporting a proposal goes from 0 to 100% it doesn’t change the probability
that that proposal will be enacted. As they put in English, “When the preferences
of the economic elites and the stands
of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American
appear to have only a miniscule near-zero, statistically non-significant
impact on public policy.” In a democracy, this is true. Alright, here’s the picture that we had,
we were told of our democracy. There we were, citizens, driving the bus. But here is the reality, the reality is – (Laughter) (Applause) the reality is the steering wheel
has become detached from this bus, we don’t drive the bus anymore. We do not, that anecdotally,
in the most aggressive empirical analysis have no relationship
to what our government does. This is a product of Tweedism. And what Tweedism is, is first corruption. It’s a corruption of the design
of our representative democracy. When Madison gave us
our representative democracy he described it, in “Federals” 52,
to be a system that would have a branch – Congress that would be,
“dependent on the people alone.” An exclusive dependence. But that’s not our Congress. They are dependent on the people
and dependent on the Tweeds. And then to go on, to clarify,
Madison in “Federals” 57 said, by the people he means,
“Not the rich, more than the poor.” Not the rich, more than the poor. But that is not our reality. The people today mean,
not the rich, more than the poor, except for the Tweeds. The Tweeds have more power
than the middle class and the poor. This is corruption. It is not criminals, it is a system
in which decent people who come to this city
to do the right thing find themselves bent to do the thing
the Tweeds demand – because that’s the only way
you can survive. It is corruption. But it is caused by a basic inequality that we have allowed to evolve
inside of our representative system. An inequality. Remember Orwell’s, “All animals
are created equal.” And what we’ve got here,
all animals are created equal but the Tweeds are more equal than others. It is inequality. But what is critical about recognizing
that it is inequality is, if we could remove the inequality; if we could address
that fundamental inequality in this representative democracy; If we could neutralize this Tweedism,
then we could crack the corruption that makes it impossible
for our government to do any of the things
we want our government to do. We could achieve a system dependent
on the people alone because only the people
would be having the influence inside our government. It would be a system where not the rich,
more than the poor were the people because every one would,
because of this equality, have the capacity to press the government in the direction they want
the government pressed. Equality. I’m not talking about wealth equality,
that’s important to worry about too. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about inequality
we have as citizens. And to get that, what I’ve been arguing,
we need to talk about is a statute, that Congress ought to pass tomorrow. Statute, let’s call it
the Citizen Equality Act. What the Citizen Equality Act does first,
it changes the way campaigns are funded. To make it so that instead
of this Green Primary we have a Money Primary, but citizens are funding these campaigns,
as much as anyone else. The money comes from all of us
through proposals like the American Anti-Corruption Act, or John Sarbanes’
Government by the People Act that would provide
small dollar public funding to fund congressional campaigns. So that they wouldn’t be dependent
on this tiny few, to fund their campaigns. That’s the critical
first dimension of equality we ought to insert back
into this representative democracy. And there’s other inequalities
inside of our system. We need equal representation
inside of our system. This article, this fantastic article
written by Christopher Ingraham for the Washington Post graphs these gerrymandered districts
in the United States. These are congressional districts
in the US. Here is my favorite example of this. You can see the natural community
that bonds these people together here. (Laughter) This is a system – they said it’s crimes against geography,
that’s kind of a nice way of putting it. This is the system where the politicians
are picking the voters. The voters
aren’t picking the politicians. And they pick the voters
to create safe seats. Democrats and Republicans
both play this game. So, in our Congress today,
90 seats are competitive. Which means 345 seats
are these safe seats. Which means, if you are minority party
in each of these 345 seats, you don’t matter to the representative because the representative knows
he or she doesn’t need you. Which means 89 million Americans
are not represented in this system, because we structured this in a way
that makes sure that these people don’t count. That is inequality. And Fair Vote has a proposal
which is incorporated in the Citizen Equality Act to radically change the way
we make these districts work so that we have proportional
fair representation across the country. And finally, an Equal Freedom to Vote. The absurd ways in which we make it hard
for people to vote. And it is not accidental
how we make it hard for people to vote. In the last election 10 million people
had to wait more than 30 minutes to vote. Which for people with nannies and iPhones
might not seem like a bad thing but if you are a working family
who can’t afford that kind of support, that’s a poll tax
that is too high for too many. And of course as the – (Applause) as the Brennan Center found
in a study that they made of this, this poll tax
is correlated strongly with race. It is racially correlated in a sense that
where there are black or brown districts they are less likely to have the resources necessary
to make it possible to vote easily. That, of course, I think is more directly
correlated with party which leads to many proposals incorporated
in the Citizens Equality Act, including
the Voting Rights Advancement Act that would attack some of these provisions
that make it hard for people to vote. And Bernie Sanders’ suggestion
of Democracy Day, where we move voting to a holiday
so working people can vote just as easily as those who don’t have to. (Applause) So these three ideas
get wrapped into one statute, the statute Congress could pass tomorrow
to achieve this equality to make
this representative democracy possible. OK, now, I push this as the core fight
we ought to have and people say, well why? There are so many issues out there
why would you pick this one to push? And there is a practical reason. The practical reason is we will get
nothing from this government, until we get this. You want this government to address
the problem of climate change, we will not get
climate change legislation, until we address
this fundamental inequality in this broken democracy. You want Congress to address
the problem of social security to make sure that there is social security we will not get a government
to address that problem until we fix this democracy. You want Congress to address
the problem of student debt. We’re not going to address
the problem of student debt until we address
this problem of democracy. So it is not that this
is the most important issue. It’s not that those issues
are the most important issues, this is just the first issue. This is the issue we have got to solve,
if we are going to have any chance to solve the long list
of critical problems that we as a nation must address. So practically this is why
we need to put this first. But it is not just practical, it is moral. 400 years after slavery came
to these shores, I think it is time we have
a peaceful fight for equality. That we have a campaign,
a national campaign, everybody who rallies around the idea
that it is finally time that we stand up
for this idea of equality. It is an embarrassment to our traditions that in 2015 we have movements that need
to assert that black lives matter. How can that possibly be? (Applause) Well, I can tell you that it is because we have a political system
that doesn’t count us equally. We have a political system
that counts some more than others. We have a political system that betrays the fundamental idea
of a representative democracy. 54 years ago, Martin Luther King
went to Lincoln University, gave a speech in which he said,
“America is essentially a dream, the substance of the dream is expressed
in these sublime words words lifted to cosmic proportions:
that all are created equal.” We’ve heard it said that the Pope
shouldn’t talk about climate science, so I shouldn’t talk about
what the Creator meant, but let me tell you about the reality,
whatever the Creator meant, reality is we are not equal
in America today. Reality is we do have
second class citizens in America today. And the reality is until we confront
the fact that this ideal is a fantasy in America today, we will not begin to have a democracy
that represents us. We need to learn from our brothers and sisters
fifty years ago who risked their lives
to fight for equality. And we need to learn
from our brothers and sisters from all the way around the world who are risking their lives now
to fight for equality. To fight for equality,
to love for equality. To sacrifice that sense of love,
to sacrifice for equality. because if we don’t,
how will we look at our children, who will look back at us and say, “Look at what you inherited
and then squandered. Look at what you had and then left to us.” Because we were given the nation
with the potential to be the greatest democracy in the world and we have allowed that potential to die. Thank you very much. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here’s how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic

  1. Not to discredit anything you're saying, because all of your points may be valid, but we do not live in a democracy. We live in a constitutional republic. So let's stop calling it that.

  2. 1.4k dislikes from people that no longer contribute to society and just rent their properties to the masses while the masses do their services and live to work.
    Social housing please, ANY DAY!

  3. In any Democracy, if 51% of the population votes a Representative into office, 49% of the population have no representation. Add to this, the power of the President to personally write an Executive Order into law with Emergency Powers. Then, One may call this form of government a Dictatorship with the People as a BODY choosing who is to rule.

    In a Republic with Inherent Rights in "every Natural Born Inhabitant", including a Right to Real Property, "every Natural Person" must be represented or no truthful government exists.

  4. Some of these comments about voting for one of two candidates are another example of what is wrong. There are more than 2 every election. It is a shame that not all eligible candidates are listed but you can write in your choice by law. Another sad thing about that is people who believe you are wasting your vote if you do not vote for one of the 2 major candidates since then the lesser of 2 evils in their eyes would get elected. If you vote for the lesser of 2 evils you have no right to complain about anything they do. Lose your job because your candidate signed in a "free trade agreement"? Or lose your job due to your candidates tariff increase? Shut up and go to china to get your job back. I suggest you vote your conscience and stop being one of the sheeple. You'll feel better about it

  5. It’s interesting- while not a direct democracy like Athens, which the USA used (along with aspects of the Roman Empire) – is were we are heading (only the males of the aristocracy could vote in ancient Athens)

  6. And the supranational C-level corporate entities (which are IMHO an evolution that are not only necessary for the state of the world, which is actually them
    Now in the best state of affairs to live in, with the most potential v V gn bl

  7. Take Exxon, which I have to add is composed largely of employees that risk Ed their lives

    In the Vietnam war to deliver oil that the military – which the civilian-elected government- started; NGOs – save the philanthropies- don’t start pour money and send vast numbers of their volunteers and/or employees/ to war over ideology

  8. The big problem that the US needs to address in how to, economically and provably military, beat China before is too late, equality in poverty is poverty for all. It is not about sharing the left over pie it is about rebuilding and running an unbeatable bakery. We need to bring back those 90,000 factories that left the US. The politicians, the corporations and the globalist sold out the nation to become the 1%.

  9. If any of this is true how was President Trump elected? What is it that the "tweeds" need President Trump to do that all those other Rep/Dem candidates could not have done?

  10. I've got a GREAT idea. Let's allow investors, through the state system of credit, to invest as much money created out of thin air as they want, keep the winnings and then pass the losses on to the general public, resulting in mass impoverishment. Then for the remaining people, we'll use the stolen money to invest in the world's geniuses, and put them on a team with super computers to defeat everyone else at business.

  11. Democracy used to work in the US in the past because it had rivals, so the top had to improve their bottom class in order to remain competitive, as that was the only way it could stay at the top. Now it doesn't need to.

  12. Tweedism exists to this day in the U.S. The only difference is that only the very rich get a chance to run, with the help and blessing of the ultra rich.

  13. This sounds so much like what Bernie Sanders is trying to accomplish by getting the money out of the government and the campaign contributions

  14. We need to increase the number of representatives in the House from 435 to at least ten times that number. The present ratio is about 725000 to 1.

  15. The ANSWER is the Convention of States … before you fall for the negative BS, look into this. It is the only way to win our country back.

  16. Until Trump!!! He has kept all of his campaign promises and the only ones that are not done yet is because the dems are blocking him.

  17. This speech is given by a Harvard professor. He speaks about democracy constantly. He doesn't know that we don't have a democracy, never did have one, and weren't intended by the Founders to have one. Perhaps we have, or should have, and/or were meant to have, a democratic republic.

  18. only a harvard ' professor' can base every social issue plaguing western society (blm?) ,and therefore every answer ,on politics

  19. Democracy is a bad thing, so I don't really care? Fascism and dictatorship is also bad, as well as anarchy in all its variations. The will of the people is irrelevant…all of the people, be they poor, or rich, of whatever race or gender. Only logic and facts matter. People are emotional. Emotions are strictly a liability, and nothing else.

  20. Terribly naive…you expect Congress to "pass tomorrow" a law which would cause most of them to lose significant amounts of income and their positions of power?

  21. The individuals with money nominate candidates, and then the people elect the given candidates. We need to introduce democracy dollars, so that every citizen can have their voice heard.

  22. So instead everbody in america unenthustically sivs through the nominees, just for the same people to fund nominees again?
    Or would you rather nominees campaign with taxpayer money, because, you know, thats much less worrying 😂😂

  23. Always such same false topics , false debates using the wrong words , and always to the same goal : help driving the herd down to the slaughter house so that the owner has not to pay more for the transport of meat . Demo = Democracy is not to be " followed " same as fashion . This is an logic engine invented for ruling our common needs of organisation , and since it's invention : always the best one ! .
    This not a religion , neihter anything that has to be belived in . Democracy is the best system available for domestic managing of our herd . It is te best because it is based on the scheme of the less performing citizen 's mind ,and it works well .
    So well , that the ennemys of global good life – those that are never mentioned – always want to kill and robb others to get more dough without giving anything as counterpart , are today very buzy at destroying the democracy all around them .
    Human things are never so much complex that those guys like to say : The real trouble comes from this simple fact : most of us are good folks that can't even imagine that – may be their own neighbor – is this kind of anti-citisen .They can't even imagine that these guys exist ! Forinstance Most of Ashkenazi Jews in Europ represent exactly the profile of anti- citisen behaviour : want to get the most money they can ,but over anything else : without working to earn this money ! Within the Jewish community , anyone feel ashamed to admit they are earning their money through a salary given by a boss that is a Goy . And if you know this , you definitly understand all concerning this very noxious community .And this one is only one sample of ant-citizenship : the ennemy of common happyness : the ennemies of democracy . Those anti-democracy guys can't cope with the idea they are similar ot others . Equality concept drive them crazy : their system is based on the despise of all that is not them . .

  24. 1. We are a republic, not a democracy.
    2. Democracies are a dangerously divisive form of government.
    3. Winners in elections are not chosen based on how much money they raised.
    4. Boss Tweed was not a business man.

  25. Until politicains fear the loss of their comfortable living, feeding with their little trotters in the trough of public money, there will be no rreal changes. Every politician should be facing unemployment at every election. Every lobbiest should be shot, or at least jailed. Every large "donation" to a political party shouls attract double taxation.
    The electoral college should be consigned to the scrap heap of history. Every state should have electrolboundries that encompass a local area, reguardless of interest groups.
    America, your political system is a mess. It's time for a new revolution and to change the whole thing.

  26. The United States is NOT a democracy. The Founding Fathers stated so. It is a Republic. A system of Laws. Unfortunately those in office are grooming the laws for the benefits of the ultra wealthy.

  27. P.S. No true democracy has ever lasted more than a few years…51% eventually agree to take the 49% stuff. A Constitutional Democratic Republic does work however. Bulletin: The USA is not nor ever was a democracy.

  28. (Canadian here.) American democracy is by no means perfect, but it's far better than countries where the only way to make any change in government is bloody revolution.

  29. This was never a democracy. This was never a democracy. This was never a democracy. You pledge to the flag and the republic for which it stands. Same as China.

  30. May I bring attention to how an" educated" man so many times referred to this nation as a democracy,which it is not. While never once did I hear our Democratic Republic mentioned

  31. UK is in a similar position regarding loss of Democracy.
    For the first time since Parliament was established, (Hundreds of yeras ago!"The MOTHER of Parliaments around the world… something democratically voted as the wish of the people has NOT been allowed to happen.
    All over the world, Democracy is not on its death bed, it's in the it's casket and awaiting the preacher to start the service!
    And why? Because democracy's life blood depends upon two components, the absence of either of which, kills it
    instantaneously.
    1) The clear, unambiguous, voted opinion of the people AND
    2) no less important, the undoubted if disappointed permission of the losers. The latter is an extinct philosophy.
    "This democracy lark is OK unless I'm not getting MY way…Then I'm not in favo(u)r of it.

  32. if you would had left the partisan views out of this speech it would have been brilliant and useful, but you choose to continue the divide. that is the problem. we can not over come the wealthiest most powerful people in the world if we get snippy over waiting 30 minutes to vote… unify under no party, no extremes, and no lies or we will fail.

  33. Maybe I Have an Idea Worth Reading About
    Tom Osher
    Nov 7 · 3 min read

    These corrupt gov’ts. are taking us all down towards extinction. How can we finally get rid of them? Now, with world-wide protests, if we could coordinate a strategy. Does anyone have a strategy?

    The strategy, in my opinion is to make one demand, the same for every country, to hold a referendum to vote on changing the structure of government from vertical (corrupt, always) to horizontal, (virtually uncorruptible). This is what we need to do, if we wish to make any real progress, to save the planet, to save humanity.

    Why is it that humanity hasn’t evolved like science to where we all live in a world of peace, harmony, justice, and abundance? Its because corrupt governments have prevented this, therefore, this is what needs to be changed first.

    This is the rarest of fleeting opportunities with for the first time in history, world-wide protests, and we could easily lose this opportunity if we are not clear in our thinking. That is, not to ask for crumbs from the master’s table, rather to allow the people to send those masters away for good, by changing the structure of governing. Changing the faces hasn’t really helped humanity escape their hold. Let’s learn from that and not make the same mistake for the umpteenth time. We can change the structure to prevent any further corruption.

    Look up on Youtube, Rojava. This is the area in N. Syria where people have done this for 8 years. They are a great model for horizontal governing. While all the time being under attack from Syria, Iran, Isis, and Turkey who are trying to annihilate them right now with bombs so that they can dump 3 million Syrian refugees there and genocide the Kurd, who they hate.

    Also, you can look on Youtube for sociocracy. This is another manner of governing or organizing horizontally. It is very similar.

    Hopefully Extinction Rebellion will understand this and help coordinate the countries to make the same demand at the same time.

    Maybe someone can point out why this isn’t what the protesters should be doing or maybe someone has a better idea. Please let’s hear it.

    Quotes from the video about Rojava:

    “Rojava, a model in societal self-direction. Neighbors make most decisions that affect them in a body called a commune, which is simply a neighborhood assembly.

    Communes are connected by electable and removable spokespersons, one woman and one man. to form a neighborhood council, and neighborhoods are linked to form city councils and so on and so forth.

    This is a bottom up or horizontal system for organizing societies. The larger the area a council or administration has, the less power it has. The heart of power is in the communes themselves.

    The commune is made up of commitees which residents can sign up for i.e. committee for defense, health, peace and consensus, economic, education, women.

    The video goes into explaining each committee one by one to understand how they work.

    They have their own police force which is quite different than what we experience as “police”.

    They have courts as well, but again different, and most disputes are settled out of court through the peace and consensus committee.

    Conflicts arising from patriarchal violence are not to be judged by men.

    There is direct democracy in the commune system, and hence, flexibility.

    We decentralize power by encouraging consensus and participatory decision making.

    Liberation of women is the main pillar of their society, “if women are not free, no one is free.”

    There is no master plan. As the Zapatistas say, “We have to make the road by walking”. So let’s get started.”

  34. We are supposed to be a Constitutional Republic with a Bill of Rights. The trouble in Hong Kong is another instance of the US government and NGO's interfering in another country's affairs.

  35. Dude, last election we had one candidate.. and he won, the election before that we had the exact same one candidate, and a joker.. so we either chose the strong man, or the joke.. wanna know what happened ? the joker actually voted for the strong man!!

  36. It was never designed to work for commoners only the land owners, it was only their interests and their freedoms for them to have free markets to make a ton of money without anyone getting in the way. They only GAVE us the vote to give us a false sense of our own ownership and we have lived under that illusion knowing something is not quite right with the picture, so we try to tweak it in places and still it does not work, then we throw our arms up into the air and BLAME some other poor git who is struggling if not more than we are. WE NEED A NEW SYSTEM!

  37. So it's like I want Andrew Yang to become the democratic nominee for the 2020 US presidential election, but the tweeds put Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren on the front page of everything obscuring Yang and the other candidates. I see. It's all clear to me now.

  38. Ugh we live in a democratic republic silly . If you want to change it go somewhere else. This works . Please dont make me explain the difference.

  39. Did any n ehve any doubt at all? American democracy does nt represant American people. It reprasants Israel and only Israel. Every thing else is irrelavant

  40. The people must be given the right to vote on bills along with citizen initiated legislation. Then real democracy will exist. This will only occur if the people elect a party that makes that a priority. This will require a constitution amendment most likely.

  41. You can not even call it a repersentive democracy. Sadly, the only top down mechanism I know that has routinely disperses power and improves inequality is democracy. Maybe it's time representatives had a smaller roll?

    To bad corrupted democracys never vote to give the elites less power…

  42. The American Congress is owned by the pro Israel zionists such as Adelson, Singer and Marcus who have bought out both sides of the House with their multi million dollar donations. Until these parasites are removed from government interference there will be nothing done for the American people whose Christian culture founded America.

  43. There is nothing wrong with our government except the two parties have got corrupt and stagnated. Term limits would help and so would a bi partisan bill to fix our countries infrastructure and domestic problems.

  44. The big problem with this is that it does give power back to the voter. Always worth remembering that half the population are below average intelligence and the other half aren't nearly as smart as they think they are. We already have a situation that the moneyed interests control the media and increasingly they are controlling the internet. All information will be controlled by the Tweeds, most of it already is. Furthermore, this only incentivises politicians to bribe the electorate by promising them other people's money. The solutions suggested in this talk are only the tip of the iceberg if we are to avoid mob rule with mobs lead by charletons.

  45. Professor Lessig ran for President, but my conclusion is that he was unwilling to do the things that are necessary in order to be politically viable (within the current system). I think he has found his niche in addressing the system's deficiencies as an outsider. It would be virtually impossible for anyone to fundamentally reform the system itself from the inside.

  46. AMERICA IS A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC. IT HAS BEEN SINCE IT'S FOUNDIND!
    THE WORD "DEMOCRACY" APPEARS NOWHERE IN THE CONSTITUTION!

  47. We're living in the most corrupt instance of existence in the history of ever. If you don't know what meritocracy is, it weighs heavily into this. Meritocracy is the ideal that the people that work the hardest deserve the most post money and moreover, power. But by in this value, it logically labels everyone thats struggling wether thats from disabilities, sexism, racism, etc. as deserving of their self brought- justifiable, societal failure. We need to incorporate grace back into our American democracy to ensure the altruistically craved future we need.

  48. Lobbying should be %100 illegal and any candidate nominated should be given a certain set amount of public funds to run their campaign.. as long as lobbying is part of our political landscape then our government will never, never represent "by the people, for the people"…

  49. something goes to vote.
    it is voted down.
    two weeks later the governor passes it into law.
    this is going on all over the country.
    the corruption is not going to be fixed by anyone/anything, internally or externally, intrinsically or extrinsically..
    the scale tipped, and likely will not/cannot be righted.

  50. This is EXACTLY why both sides of the aisle hate Trump. He jumped over the first "Tweed" step. A whole bunch of us deplorables voted him in and the Tweeds are pissed.

  51. The problem is that Democracy, in order to function properly, requires that the people vote for what is best for the nation, overall. People do NOT do that, they vote for what is best for them, personally, and screw everyone else. Sandra Fluke is a prime example of this. She advocated "Why should women have to pay for birth control? It should be a fundamental right of our existence!"… so now we have national healthcare laws enacted to support that. Instead of just paying the $40 a month out of your pocket, now your insurance company covers it, but you pay 5 times the original cost of the insurance. Read Robert Heinlein's theory of the fall of Rome: Bread & Circuses. Once the "common" people realized that they held the power of numbers, they voted that the government must provide their food, and massive entertainment. They voted themselves more benefits, and decided the "rich" had to pay for it. Rome bled to death from the inside, long before the Huns attacked. The same is happening in America. Idiots who only care about themselves and have no common sense outnumber everyone else, and they have voted our culture into imminent extinction. Wake up, people!

  52. Appreciate Your Work TED :

    (DEMOCRACY) IN DEFINITION IS SOMETHING THEY/"THE ELITIST" WOULD PERSUADE US TO BELIEVE EXIST … AS ALL THE OTHER (IDEOLOGIES) THEY HAVE
    SOLD US SUCH AS (VOTING)
    OR (THE U.S. CONSTITUTION)
    OR (THE DECLARATION OF
    INDEPENDENCE) AND OH
    OF COURSE HOW COULD I FORGET … (FREEDOM) !!!

  53. SO-CALLED CAPITALISM MUST BE BLOWN UP AND REMODELED IN FAVOR OF

    THE MASSES!!! CAPITALISM HAS LONG BEEN HIJACKED AND BASTARDIZED

    BY PARASITIC TAX-DODGING SHYLOCKS, AND SOCIALISM IS THE MOST EFFICIENT ANTIDOTE TO CAPITALISM RUN AMOK!!! DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM IS THE ONLY CURE!!!

  54. America is not and never has been a democracy and both the state and federal governments have been in treason for decades.

  55. By the way the liers are backing each other, we will only stand a chance of survival untill the next winner gets the Arab idea of genocide on us all with their hate for America and it's citizens.

  56. I thought that this was good until he started talking about "poll tax". Seems like low key racism through the bigotry of low expectations.

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